Harry Potter and the Years of Adventure
Chapter 6 – Coming Home Part III
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. If you thought I did then you need your head checked.
Author's note: Okay, here is the last installment of this story.
Harry put his arms over Bill's and tightened their embrace. "Oh, it's a million times better."
The moment was completely ruined when they heard someone clear their throat behind them, the only reason Bill didn't knock Harry off his lap when he jumped up was because Harry had done exactly the same thing. They whipped around and found themselves facing a shocked Molly Weasley.
"Mrs. Weasley!" Harry said at exactly the same time Bill said, "Mum!"
Molly blinked, she had not been prepared to walk in on an intimate moment between Bill and some strange man, especially one where they professed their love and then proceeded to make plans to run away together. She had come in the door just as the stranger said "No matter what they did or said, no matter how much they tried to convince us they were okay with it, I'm sure it would still be awkward for them to see us together." Then Bill, her Bill had agreed to keep secrets from her. It felt like someone had stuck a knife in her chest and twisted it, she had always prided herself on being trustworthy, someone her family could tell anything to. Now her firstborn was prepared to lie to her for this complete stranger who had the audacity to relax on her couch.
Just one look at his mother's face was enough to tell Bill that she had heard most, if not all, of their conversation. But by her reaction she had missed the part about it being Harry who was standing in her living room.
"Mum, I'd like to reintroduce you to someone." Bill said before she could get too upset. "Mum, this is Harry, he's come back."
Molly stared at Harry who gave a small smile and an even smaller wave. "Hi, Mrs. Weasley. It's good to see you again." There was five minutes of complete silence in the Burrow – probably the longest there had ever been – while Molly looked at Harry, she seemed to be trying to verify that it was actually him. Finally she came to the conclusion that it was in fact Harry standing in her living room; she burst into tears and ran over to him, giving him the biggest Weasley hug imaginable. Bill smartly retreated to the kitchen to get tea.
"Oh Harry, it's really you! I can't believe you're finally back." She sobbed, "Everyone thought you were gone forever! I knew you'd come home, my boys always do. But did you have to take so long?" When she had calmed down a bit, what she had seen and heard before caught up with her. She looked from Harry to Bill and back again in quick succession as her sharp mind put the pieces together. "You...and Bill?" She asked.
Harry nodded, "Um, yeah."
"How?" She asked as Bill forced her into a chair and handed her a cup of tea. Tea fixed everything. "I mean, I'm not really in a position to complain but...how?"
"Well, I kinda ran into him in Cairo about four years ago, he didn't recognise me; kinda like you just now, so I didn't tell him my real name. We kinda fell for each other, again, even though he thought I was someone else. We didn't know that we'd liked each other since before my graduation."
Molly's eyebrows raised at this particular piece of information but she didn't say anything so Harry continued.
"Well, like I said, we fell in love. We spent a few months in Cairo then moved to Alexandria, it took almost a year, but Bill finally put the pieces of the puzzle together and figured out I was Harry. I got scared and ran away." Harry looked lovingly at Bill, "But I got back today, and apparently he's still as crazy about me as I am about him."
"Oh." Molly said, it was a lot to process. Her oldest son was in a relationship with someone the age of her youngest son...it was hard to accept. "I see."
Bill settled in a chair across from his mother – and not next to Harry, there was no need to frighten her, "I know it's weird, that's why we weren't going to tell anyone, they just wouldn't understand."
Molly smiled sadly, "I think you're right, we might be an accepting family and everyone would be fine with either or both of you being gay but, well, together? I think it's best to keep it between us. I'm just glad that you," She nodded to Harry, "Are safe. And you," She nodded to Bill, "Finally have someone. You know, I was worried that you had been alone for so long you'd given up. Personally, I love that you're together, it actually makes sense to me. But, I know for a fact that your father and everyone, except maybe Charlie, would object to a certain extent. It's a sad truth." She wiped a few tears away, it was terrible that their society wasn't accepting enough to encourage two people who were meant for each other – as Harry and Bill obviously were – to be together just because they were gay, 10 years apart in age and theoretically . She jumped up and grabbed the bags she had abandoned at the door. "Oh well, nothing we can do about it right now. I'm going to put these away and get dinner started, I'd say you have about two hours before Arthur gets home and three till Ron, Hermione and their kids get here. They're coming for dinner, bless them, their timing couldn't have been better! Anyway, two hours, max. Make the most of it because I'm not letting either of you leave the country for at least a year!" With that she disappeared into the kitchen.
Bill looked at Harry, "That went better than I thought it would. Though, I suppose if we had to get caught, she would be the best one to do the catching. I also think she means that this is the most alone time we're getting for a while."
"Yeah, I agree, on all points. Wanna go out back?" Harry suggested.
"Sure." They spent the next two hours sitting under the great willow just snuggled up next to each other. Unbeknownst to them, they were just barely visible from the kitchen. Molly sneaked a few glances at them as she worked on dinner, Bill and Harry were obviously completely and totally in love, they looked to be about 20 again; young and in love. She smiled to herself, her two lost sons had found each other and both come home, there was nothing more she could wish for.
As soon as Arthur's hand on the clock switched to 'Traveling', Molly stuck her head out the window and called her boys in. By the time Arthur walked in the door, Bill and Harry were sitting across from each other at the table and Molly was chattering away at them from the kitchen.
"Arthur!" "Dad!" "Mr. Weasley!" Three different greetings met the poor, deceived man as he stepped into the room.
"Molly, Bill. Who is this gentleman?" He asked as he set his briefcase on the side table.
"Arthur!" Molly said as she rushed over to kiss him hello, "You'll never guess who's come back, so I won't even bother asking you to. Arthur, meet the new and improved Harry Potter!" She said with a dramatic flourish of her spoon.
Arthur's jaw hit the floor. "You're joking. You're Harry?" He took in Harry's appearance – he was missing the coat and staff so he didn't look quite as foreign as he could have – and nodded his head once. "Well, you can go ahead and label me surprised, many of us thought you had fallen off the face of the earth. But it is absolutely wonderful to see you again." He walked over to shake Harry's hand but decided at the end that a hug would be more appropriate. "I know it is redundant thing to say but you've grown, and changed. I suppose that's what happens when you're gone for more than 15 years." There was a twinge of accusation in his voice but it was quickly replaced by his usual enthusiasm, "Now, you have to tell us all about what you've been doing all these years! If you wait a few more minutes Hermione, Ron and their kids will be here, but I guess Molly has already told you. They will be absolutely thrilled to see you, I'm sure the kids will love you. You should probably have another cup of tea though, I have a feeling you will be doing a lot of talking tonight." He continued muttering to himself about upstart children who ran away to have adventures as he hung his coat up and went upstairs to freshen up for dinner.
When Ron and Hermione arrived there were bucket loads of tears all around – even Ron cried, though he would deny it later. Hermione was even happy enough to see him that he was spared a lecture, but he had a feeling there would be one coming in a few days. Especially seeing as she was pregnant with twins...hormones and all that. At first their three kids, 11 year old twins Gerald and Francis, and 5 year old Maria, were extremely shy and even a bit scared of their parents antics, but a few well-placed stories from Harry and they were loving the new/old addition to their extended family.
Over the next two weeks, each and every honourary member of the Weasley family visited the Burrow or Grimmauld Place at least once. Harry divided his time between the two houses which was probably a good thing seeing as there were way too many people to fit in either place at once. He was surprised to find that everyone was married and most of them had a plethora of kids. Harry realised that he should have expected it but still, everyone? Remus had married Tonks and had two kids, Fred had married Alicia and had a set of twins and three other kids, George had married Angelina and had a set of twins and one set of triplets...both women swore off kids and often joked about regretting marrying twins. Between those two couples alone, Hogwarts had been, and would be, doomed for years. Percy had married Penelope and had one boy, who unfortunately took after his father. Charlie and Fleur had Susan. Ginny and Dean had four kids with another two on the way; again, Hogwarts was doomed.
Harry was simply floored by the sheer number of children, and so many of them twins! Not to mention the fact that they were all between the ages of 15 and -6 months! What was it with Weasleys and tons of kids? And these parents? How on Merlin's increasingly red-headed planet did they manage to keep them all under control? He also had a hard time coming to grips with the fact that Hermione was going to have five kids, she just didn't strike him as the type to have that many children; he would have thought she would end up with one boy and one girl, nice and respectable. Between the six Weasley couples (well, one was a Thomas...) there were 18 kids, only 5 of which were already in Hogwarts. This wasn't counting Remus' 9 and 6 year old and Sirius; 15 and 13 year olds. If Harry hadn't seen it with his own eyes he would have thought it impossible; and even though he had seen it, he still wasn't sure he believed it.
After a week of meeting all these people, Harry pulled Bill into the library at Grimmauld – one of the only relatively quite places in the house; but not private, it seemed that all of Hermione and Ron's kids got Hermione's study habits, much to Ron's frustration, and the professors relief.
"Why Harry, if you wanted me alone all you needed to do was visit at night, after all, you know we can't sneak around during the day." Harry smacked him.
"I just wanted to know how the hell all these children happened?"
"Well, when a mum and dad really love –" Another smack.
Bill rubbed his shoulder in mock pain. "Fine, well, I guess Weasleys have a thing for kids and all my brothers somehow manage to find a wife who doesn't mind a shit ton of children running abound." He rolled his eyes, "And Ginny is fairly obvious, she's always wanted a huge family, she's well on her way."
"Yeah, but there's so many of them! And all the twins! What is it with you people? Do you like, order them or something? It's insane!" Harry flung his hands into the air in exasperation.
"I don't know." Bill said with a shrug, "It just runs in the family I guess."
Harry sighed. "I don't how the parents keep them all under control, it's like a mad house!"
Bill hung an arm around Harry, "You know, you're actually pretty good with kids. You once managed to keep them all quiet for over an hour. That must be some sort of record you know, I think you deserve another Order of Merlin."
Harry whacked Bill, again; it was becoming a habit. "That Merlin thing is in the attic somewhere and the only reason I can keep them quite is because I can tell them stories no one else can."
"Yeah, but you keep their attention, that's skill." Bill said with a squeeze.
"Well, I did learn a few things in Bermuda." Bill raised his eyebrow, this was new so he gestured for Harry to continue, which he did. "They practice what they call word enchanting. It's a type of storytelling magic."
"Ha!" Bill said triumphantly, "Skill! You're bewitching the kids. Oh you tricky old man."
"Me? Old? What does that make you? Ancient? Decrepit?" Harry asked with a laugh, "I don't think you're in any position to be making age jokes. Anyway, I'd like to think we're the youngest adults here."
"Really?" Asked Bill skeptically, "And how exactly are we the 'youngest adults'? May I remind you that I happen to be the oldest sibling."
"Easy, we never grew up!" Harry said with a grin. "We still believe in fairy tales!"
Bill laughed, "Yeah, but the difference is that we know they are true. We just happen to be better informed than others. Their fairy tales are our reality, well, mostly your's but I've got one!"
"But they don't know that..." Harry said with a crooked smile, "Anyway we get to run around the world free as birds and don't have kids to make us feel old! I mean seriously, compare your life to Charlie's; he has a stable job – albeit with dragons – a wife, and a kid. And look at his face, he looks like an adult. Tell me, when you see yourself in a mirror do you see a 40 year old man?"
Bill glared at him, "You had to remind me of my actual age, didn't you?"
"Hey, I rounded down, thank you very much!" Harry did his best to look affronted. "And you didn't answer my question. Look around; husbands, wives, kids, lives all planned out...tell me they don't seem older than you and me."
"Okay, I see your point." Bill acquiesced, "And yeah, I guess I really do feel like a big kid around my siblings, especially when they're talking about their children." He looked around guiltily, "I feel bad saying it but I suppose I do kinda see all them as older than me now..."
"Ha! See, I'm right. We never grew up, at least I don't think we did."
"Yeah, I sure don't feel much like a grownup. So, what say we go play with the kids? I think all the twins want to learn more about that mind-talk thing."
"Ah yes, taking twin speak to the next level...their parents are going to hate us you know." Harry said with a grin.
"That's half the fun!"
So the youngest adults left the parents to their parent-y stuff and went to play with the kids. Molly watched with a small, knowing smile as her lost boys – as she still thought of them – sneaked out of the library and off towards where the kids were hanging out. Bill and Harry didn't really fit in with the rest of the family anymore. Sure, they would socialize, discuss, debate and spend time with the other adults, and they both had some amazing stories, especially Harry, but they weren't at ease with them. Neither of them had grown up yet, and she loved it; everyone was expected to join the 'real world', Bill and Harry hadn't and for that she thanked Merlin, someone still needed to reach for the stars and land in the heavens.
After a few months, the novelty of Harry being back had worn off – at least among the adults of the family – the kids, Ministry, Hogwarts and the general public still really wanted to know where he had been for 15 years, but Harry ignored most of them quite successfully – he didn't try to ignore the children. Harry moved into Grimmauld Place and Bill stayed at the Burrow, which amused everyone to no end; they loved the fact that their oldest brother was back living at home, he didn't really care. Bill and Harry spent many hours together, completely unnoticed by anyone except Molly and Sirius, who were quite effective partners in crime. Sometimes Harry would help Bill with his book on Akakor, other times they work together – Harry was working on a few different books, he had to be careful what information was included in each of the books so as to keep some of the secrets of the people he visited – but most of the time they just enjoyed each other's company.
That summer, summer 2013, was an interesting affair; it seemed like there was a constant flow of people in and out of the Burrow and Grimmauld Place. None of the regular occupants really minded but that might have been because, being Weasleys, they always brought food and good company. Saturday nights became 'Family Night' and almost everyone would gather in the backyard of the Burrow for a massive bonfire. They cooked dinner in the fire, making roasted potatoes, stick bread, banana boats, hot dogs, smores and of course, loads of butterbeer. There would be a pickup game of Quidditch in the afternoon usually followed by a football game – Harry had managed to convince them that it was worth learning and after a while they came to really like it. The evening usually ended with Harry telling at least one story, some of the adults wanted to pretend that they weren't quite as fascinated with the tales as the children were, but after a few minutes everyone would be gasping in the right places, laughing and waiting with baited breath to find out what happened next; no one could escape the enchanted words, they were each drawn into the adventure.
However, by the end of Summer Harry and Bill were both exhausted, most of the kids seemed to think they were the coolest people around – neither of them minded this distinctions – and had therefore decided to go out of their way to find and pester them. This, they did mind. Despite the fact that Harry would tell at least two stories on Family Nights, every time on of the kids saw him they would ask for another. Problem was, they knew he had 15 years of good stories to tell, and never let him forget it.
So, it was with great excitement and immense relief that the two of them walked onto Platform 9 ¾ on the 1st. There were going to be two new Weasleys and one new Thomas attending Hogwarts this year, bringing the number of attendees from the Extended Weasley Clan up to a total of ten. It was probably a good thing Dumbledore had retired three years ago because if he hadn't, he might very well have died of a heart attack.
"Hey Bill," Harry said quietly as he pulled him a little ways away from the mob. "I'm really glad you're a guy."
Bill gave a crooked grin. "So am I, it makes sleeping together so much easier, I know where everything goes!" He winked, "But judging by your current expression, that's not what you were talking about...So tell me, why are you glad I'm a guy?"
Harry grinned right back at him, "Cause if you were a girl, we'd have to deal with all that!" He waved his hand in the direction of the train where various set of parents were corralling kids.
"Good Merlin, you're right, we'd have to like, actually get married, have a proper house, and we'd be expected to have babies!" Bill shuddered then turned to Harry. "Harry?"
"I'm glad you're a guy too." Bill said this with as straight a face as he could manage, but it failed in a grand total of two seconds and they burst out laughing. Molly sidled up to them.
"What has you two clandestine lovebirds so amused?" She asked quietly.
Bill grinned at his Mum, "We're just glad no one can expect us to have kids."
Molly chuckled, "You know, there was a time when that would have broken my heart, But I'm pretty sure I have enough grandbabies to be getting along with for now." The she grabbed their shoulders and steered them towards the train. "Now, stop skulking around and get out there to say goodbye to your nieces and nephews. And no Harry, don't think you can get out of it just because you don't have Weasley blood. So, go." She finished with a shove.
Once the kids had been seen off, Harry and Bill retreated back to Grimmauld Place.
"Bill! Someone just flooed in." Harry said as he pushed Bill off him, they had been relaxing on the couch, reading over and editing the other's manuscripts. Bill groaned.
"Ugh. This is getting old." Bill then swung his legs around, propped them up on the couch, balanced the bound pile of papers on his knees and laid his head on the armrest. As he was doing this, Harry had jumped off the couch – Bill's legs landed where he had been sitting – and curled up in a chair across the table. In less than five seconds they were settled and looked like they had been sitting like that for hours.
"Hello, boys." Molly said as she cheerfully entered the room. "It's just me, everyone else is out so you can go back to cuddling on the couch as I'm sure you were doing before you heard me floo in."
Bill and Harry each gave her a sheepish smile and returned to their previous position, with Bill resting his head on Harry's lap and Harry using said head as a place to balance his pile of papers. It took them less time to return than it took them to leave.
"You know," Molly said, "I still can't believe that you've done such a good job keeping this covered up. It is truly amazing, especially seeing as you're completely and totally crazy about each other. I thought this would blow up in your faces months ago."
"Why thanks for your confidence in our secret-keeping abilities." Bill said with a grin. "We greatly appreciate it."
Harry laughed. "Oh Molly, you have no idea how good our secret keeping skills are. I mean seriously, do you know what Bill was doing for two years? Do you know where all I went? Having a clandestine relationship is nothing. At least all we have to lose is respect, and we don't really care much about that anyway."
Molly glared at them; she had tried for many months to figure out where they had been, but had been completely and utterly unsuccessful. "Fine. But I'll have you know that Christina knows somethings not quite right."
"Well, that is one thing that surprises me, I did think she would have figured it out by now." Harry said thoughtfully, "But hey, I'm not complaining."
"Yes, well, that's not why I came by; I wanted to know what you were planning on doing now that the kids are back at school, I don't want you running off on me."
"We won't run off without telling you, that would be rude." Harry said indignantly.
"Oh really? So what exactly was it you did 16 years ago?" Molly asked with a raised eyebrow.
Harry had the decency to look guilty. "Okay fine, we won't do it again."
"Anyway, we're both working on books." Bill said, pointing to the many piles of paper around the room, "We can't rightly up and leave before we finish."
Molly looked satisfied, "Okay, good."
The school year came and went and soon all the kids were piling off the train. Harry and Bill had helped teach some of the 5th through 7th years about the big wide world and prepared to take the best to Akakor, even if the students didn't know where they were going. They did know it was something to do with goblins because they had learned a lot about their culture, language and customs. But they were quite confused by what else they had learned; navigation and light spells, rock identification, spelunking, Spanish, political etiquette, search and rescue spells, rock climbing, endurance and all sorts of other random things. However, the students were extremely excited when they met Bill, it meant they were going somewhere top-secret because it was common knowledge that was what Bill Weasley had done for two years. Because he was one of their teachers it was pretty obvious that was where they were going.
Molly knew something was up when Bill and Harry started to pack up all their papers; everyone knew that they two of them were taking their class on a trip to the secret place Bill had gone – which Harry apparently knew about - but she was particularly observant and noticed that they were packing everything. Molly sighed, she should count herself lucky they had stuck around for so long, they obviously wanted to be together. This was the perfect opportunity for them to leave, people would think that they had just stayed in the secret place, she and Sirius knew they were off somewhere else but didn't tell anyone else that; both were just glad the boys trusted them enough to tell them that much.
"Hello boys." Molly said as she walked into their office – no one questioned the fact that they shared an office because they were co-teaching a class, it seemed normal - she and Sirius knew that a lot more than grading papers went on in there but kept that information to themselves.
"Hey Mum." Bill said, lifting his head from the table where he was currently banging it.
Molly frowned at her son, "Is there something you'd like to tell me? Like, why you're destroying what few braincells you might have?"
"Ugh. It's just these kids, we weren't expecting them all to pass. We made it really hard on purpose! They're just so damn motivated." He glared at the pile of papers and voice recording spheres. "I don't think any of them have worked this hard in their entire lives!"
Molly laughed until her sides ached. "You're complaining that your students are too good? That they put too much effort into their work? I don't think I will ever even begin to understand you."
Harry chose that moment to walk into the room. "What's going on? I can hear you from the hall."
"Bill here is complaining that your students worked too hard." Molly said with another laugh. "It's the first time I have ever heard anyone say something like that."
"But it's true!" Harry said with a frustrated snarl. "There were three reasons we made this class extremely difficult; 1) We need to give the goblins a good impression, 2) We don't want anyone getting themselves killed, and 3) We wanted a manageable number of students. Now, we have 42 students between the ages of 15 and 17 that we have to keep track of for two months! I mean, come on! We had two hour classes three times a week and gave another hour of homework each day. We made them learn most of one language and the basics of another – to practice on their own time, ran them to the ground physically every Saturday morning with the expectation that they do the same to themselves every other day, made them break just about every preconception about life possible and promised to kick them out if they got less than a B on anything in our class or in any of their other classes. Some of these are OWL and NEWT students! I don't know how they did it. If I hadn't seen all this with my own eyes – and checked with Bill to make sure I wasn't hallucinating – I would say that it was impossible."
Molly stared at the two of them in horror. "You could have killed the poor things! Or driven them insane or given them a series of mental breakdowns or something! How do you know you haven't scared them for life or driven them to an early grave?"
Bill smashed his face into the table again. "Because they also had weekly physicals with Pomfrey and bi-weekly check-ins with a psychiatrist. These are like, wonder kids or something."
Molly glared at him again, "You should just be glad it wasn't you doing all that. It would probably kill you, you little old man."
Harry laughed into his hand as Bill yelled"Hey! I'm not little and I'm not old."
"Well you probably would be if you had to do all that." Molly said smugly.
"Actually, Molly." Harry said. "We both did. We did everything with the kids; after all, we have to be there too. And Bill here spent the time learning about the place we're planning on going, I made him work just as hard as the students."
If she hadn't already been sitting down, Molly probably would have collapsed. "You guys are crazy, absolutely nuts."
Harry grinned. "Yes, yes we are. Now, what can we help you with?"
Molly shook her head to focus again. "Actually, you kinda just did. I had just noticed that you two seemed to be planning on actually leaving, not just taking a trip."
"Oh, yeah." Bill said guiltily, "We were going to tell you tomorrow. We're going to leave straight from the trip, we won't be coming back with the students."
"I figured as much." Molly said sadly. "I'm glad you were going to tell me though, I would have been really sad it you had just gone."
"But don't worry, Mum." Bill said as he put his arm around her shoulders, "We'll be back in three years at the latest. After all, we have to teach the next round of students. We can't just ignore the rest of the future now can we?"
Bill and Harry led a very successful trip to Akakor, their students were extremely well behaved, none of them died and the goblins were thrilled. When their two months were up, the kids went back to England without Harry and Bill.
"So Bill, you ready to start a life with me?"
"I've been ready since I first met you."
"Good. Now, we have to get to the Indian Ocean, it's on the other side of the world. Literally. So, east or west?"
"West." Bill said with a grin. "Then we can sail off into the sunset."
And that's what they did, they packed all their stuff into Harry's boat and headed to a little island in the Maldives.
Harry and Bill sat side by side at the bow of the boat, watching the glorious sun sink below the tiny line where the sea met the sky. Their entire world exploded in every shade of red, orange, yellow and pink imaginable, with not a single bit of land in sight, the colours surrounded them. Bill touched his forehead to Harry's and then they pressed their lips together, their passion as heated, beautiful, and magnificent as the sun.
The two men lay next to each other as stars sprinkled the heavens,and the moon graced the earth with it's presence. A shooting star flashed across the sky and Bill leaned down to whisper in Harry's ear;
Star light, star bright,
Shooting star I see tonight.
The world is once again at right,
Because my Harry's here tonight.
Author's Note: I hope you enjoyed it and that the ending was okay. There will be more, I will be writing little vinyetts that fit into this story. You'll have to check my profile for updates because they won't be posted here, there should be one called 'The Frozen North' up in a few days. Even though the story is officially 'complete' I still like getting reviews...they will help me write the other parts faster. Also, if you're like me and usually only read completed stories, it's still nice to hear from you!